There are so many questions when it comes to finding your perfect virtual assistant. It’s nerve-wracking deciding if it’s time to hire your first VA to join your team. We receive several questions about hiring a VA, but a common question is whether your virtual assistant needs to live locally.
The short answer is no; virtual assistants do not have to be local. The beauty of virtual assistants is the virtual part! Virtual assistants can live and work anywhere because most of the work they do can be done online. Examples of what virtual assistants offer are social media management, email marketing, graphic design, blogging, video editing, and more. None of this needs to be done in an office, so virtual assistants choose to work remotely.
A benefit of working with virtual assistants is that you don’t need to pay for extra office space. They won’t be coming into an office every day and using company resources. They are independent workers and typically have more flexibility compared to salary employees.
Now, you may be concerned about complications that come with working with people remotely. How do I effectively collaborate online? How do we communicate? Nowadays, there are many ways to collaborate virtually and tools that make it easier to do so.
Zoom took off in 2020 when most people were required to work from home. For some, it was the first time they had ever worked from home, and there was a steep learning curve. For others, they were already working from home full time, and their workday didn’t change. Zoom allows teams to collaborate on video, share screens to demonstrate processes or train employees, and schedule meetings and webinars.
Other examples of virtual meeting spaces include WebEx, Google Meet, and Skype. Each has different purposes. For smaller teams, I suggest Zoom or Google Meet because they are user-friendly and free to use.
Work Management Systems
Work management systems allow teams to manage projects, assign tasks, and organize the workloads of employees. Asana is an example of a work management system. It has helped thousands of companies stay on top of projects and organize and track the progress of their team. It’s a popular tool among virtual assistants because it’s an easy and free way to collaborate with team members and eliminate unnecessary email chains back and forth. With features like chat, task assignment, and calendar view, teams can effectively keep track of several projects at once.
Other commonly used work-management systems include:
As mentioned above, Asana is a great way to communicate with team members about tasks and projects. However, sometimes you need something extra. An easy way to communicate online is through Slack. Slack is a business communication platform that hosts chat rooms. The great thing about these chat rooms is that they can be organized by topic, private groups, and direct messages. Organizing messages eliminates the confusion of email chains and the possibility of missed communication.
Another tool that is similar to Slack is Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is typically used by large organizations due to the extensive capabilities and integrations it has. Google chat is also used among G-Suite users for quick conversations.
Although virtual assistants are fully capable of working remotely, you may want to consider their time zone. If it’s across the world from you, it may make working together more difficult. It’s not impossible, but it could cause complications with collaboration and scheduling meetings at times that work for both of you. If it’s the right person, you might not mind the time difference, but it’s something to think about.
I mentioned a couple of companies that offer services to make working remotely with a team easier. The virtual assistant you hire may have others in mind to try or tools that they currently use and want to integrate you into. Trust their processes and opinions because they will choose tools that will make it easier for you two to work together. Remember that these are only suggestions, be sure to consult your virtual assistant to decide which tools will best serve your needs.
Working with a virtual assistant that doesn’t live locally is the norm! Times are changing, and the workforce is moving more and more to remote working. With the tools I mentioned above and others, remote working is becoming easier. As long as you can adapt to working online with a virtual assistant, your working relationship with them will thrive.
Ready to hire a virtual assistant? We’ve created a master list of questions to ask your potential VA’s to make sure that they’re not just an expert in their field – but they’re the right fit for you and your business! Download here.